Ukraine: Daily Briefing
February 22, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
February 26 is the Worldwide Day of Action for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, illegally imprisoned by Russia. The Worldwide Day of Action is organized by PEN America and international partners. For a video on Sentsov by Babylon 13, please click on image above #FreeSentsov
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 20 times in total, including at least 9 times with heavy weapons – artillery and mortars.
2. US Deputy Secretary of State: We will continue to stand with Ukraine until there is an end to Russian aggression
Speaking on February 21 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Academy in Kyiv, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan stated, “Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and its invasion of eastern Ukraine are an attempt to cast doubt on Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ukraine’s unity, and the choice the Ukrainian people made to embrace Western values and Western institutions. […]
Paradoxically, the Russian aggression designed to divide Ukraine has created great unity of spirit among the Ukrainian people, while deeply damaging Russia’s own reputation and standing in Ukraine – and on the world stage. And it’s cost Russia significant resources that would have been better dedicated to the welfare of its own citizens.
Given the high stakes, it’s important to be clear about U.S. policy towards the conflict: Crimea is Ukraine. The Donbas is Ukraine. We will never accept trading one region of Ukraine for another. We will never make a deal about Ukraine without
We will continue to stand with Ukraine until there is an end to Russian aggression. We will continue to draw on the range of measures we have at our disposal, including diplomacy, sanctions, and security assistance. […]
But even as Ukraine’s soldiers and diplomats fight for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, there is another critical priority for all Ukrainians: fulfilling the dreams of the Maidan for a better, brighter future that is free of corruption. The Ukrainian people expect Ukraine’s leaders to answer this call. […]
We support Ukraine because the United States believes Ukraine has great, untapped potential, and it is our interest that Ukraine become a successful, stable, secure, prosperous European nation. […]
We applaud you for taking bold education, healthcare, and pension reforms in recent months. Change is always difficult. Sometimes it can even be scary. But these reforms will deliver tremendous value to the people of Ukraine, and will help them build the kind of country they yearn for. […]
I want to underline that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine in your fight for security and the integrity of your system of governance.
We encourage Ukraine’s leaders to renew their commitment to uproot corruption, and we urge its people, and most critically, its young people – all of you – to keep fighting for a strong and democratic Ukraine – one where liberties are protected and where economic growth and jobs will flourish.” Sullivan’s full remarks are available here
3. Ukraine files Memorial against Russia under UN Convention on Law of the Sea
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “On 19 February 2018, Ukraine filed its Memorial in arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”). The Memorial establishes that Russia has violated Ukraine’s sovereign rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait.
Since 2014, Russia has unlawfully excluded Ukraine from exercising its maritime rights; it has exploited Ukraine’s sovereign resources for its own ends; and it has usurped Ukraine’s right to regulate within its own maritime areas. Through these violations of international law, Russia is stealing Ukraine’s energy and fisheries resources, harming the livelihoods of Ukrainian fishermen, and blocking traffic to Ukrainian ports with its illegal bridge over the Kerch Strait, among other serious violations.
Ukraine asks the Tribunal to end the Russian Federation’s violations of UNCLOS and vindicate Ukraine’s rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait, including by ordering Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereign rights in its own waters, to cease its theft of Ukraine’s resources, and to pay reparation for hydrocarbon resources Russia has wrongfully taken, among other relief.
Ukraine initiated arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation in September 2016. A five-member Tribunal sitting in The Hague has been constituted to hear Ukraine’s case. Ukraine is vindicating its rights in the face of Russia’s flagrant violations of international law in appropriate international forums, including the UNCLOS case, as well as Ukraine’s case against the Russian Federation before the International Court of Justice.”
4. Reuters: US looking at potential new sanctions against Russia
Reuters reported, “The Trump administration is considering new sanctions against Russia in response to election meddling and a devastating cyber attack last year, senior U.S. officials said on Wednesday, pushing back against criticism that it has been slow to act. […]
In a briefing for a group of reporters, three senior administration officials involved in sanctions work described a process that is slow moving for legal reasons and cannot be accelerated in response to negative headlines. They did not provide details on when the administration would reach a decision or what measures were under consideration.
The officials said some sanctions have already been imposed against two Russian entities cited last week in a 37-page indictment from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Those two are Concord Catering and Concord Management and Consulting, which the indictment said controlled the Internet Research Agency, a group that coordinated the meddling. Sanctions were imposed on them in June related to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.
The officials said a review is well under way at what more can be done in response to the meddling. They said they are also looking ahead to the potential for tampering in the 2018 midterm congressional elections next November. […]
The officials said there is an active review under way on how to respond to last week’s designation of Russia as responsible for the devastating ‘NotPetya’ cyber attack last year.
The White House last week said the ‘NotPetya’ attack, launched in June 2017 by the Russian military, spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia and the Americas.’ […]
Another official, who spoke to Reuters separately from the briefing, said it is a ‘certainty’ that the United States will act in response to the NotPetya attack.”
5. Denmark to support human rights, democracy and sustainable growth projects in Ukraine
Ukraine Business Journal reported, “Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced in Kyiv on Wednesday €65 million in aid to Ukraine under the Danish Neighborhood Program. Funding projects in human rights, democracy and sustainable economic growth, the Program is reserved for two countries, Ukraine and Georgia. On June 27, Copenhagen will host the second international conference on reforms in Ukraine. The first was held last year in London.”